Gerard Daffy's TattsBet News - March 14

RUGBY LEAGUE 

There wasn’t much separating punters and bookmakers in the opening round of the NRL season. Several well backed sides won, and a couple (Brisbane and Canberra) missed, those being the only beaten favourites.

Another tough round confronts us this week as evidenced by the quote of $45 ($1 outlay) for all fav’s to win. That was similar to last week’s dividend for all to salute, but there has been good money for some of the outsiders to win. North Queensland v Melbourne and Souths v Cronulla are matches where all sides won last week, but oddly in the other 6 games, 5 of the favourites are coming off a loss! The round kicks off tonight (Thursday), and all of a sudden the Parramatta Eels are the flavour of the month. The Eels opened at $2.35 against the Bulldogs on Tuesday, but that quickly disappeared, now into $2.20 and the Bulldogs out to $1.70. As we have said before, it is dangerous to put too much emphasis on an opening round in any code, but although the Eels had little opposition in the Warriors, coach Ricky Stuart does appear to have turned around the form of some of their key players.

Brisbane are an easing favourite ($1.65-$1.70) against the Dragons on Friday night where punters clearly think that the home side (Dragons) will bounce back after a thrashing at the hands of Melbourne. The big concern here is that they face a quick turnaround from Sunday, and had to play in stifling conditions where the thermometer hit 36 degrees. Brisbane looked well in command against Manly (were $1.28 at half time) before being held scoreless in the second half, and that just goes to make this a difficult game to assess.

The match of the round will be in Townsville where the Cowboys host Melbourne, and there has been a concerted push for the home side to have the perfect start to the season. The Cowboys opened slight outsiders at $1.95, but in early trading, 80% of the money has been for them, forcing the price into $1.90 equal favourites. North Queensland have won 2 of their last 3 against Melbourne, and while Melbourne are obviously a great side, they have to travel after last week’s match in energy sapping conditions, and that was on the back of a trip to Leeds in atrocious conditions. The draw has done them no favours, and maybe the money for the Cowboys will be on the mark.

AFL

Carlton are the first side to make it to a NAB Cup final having lost their last match, but with the game now being played in Melbourne, the Blues are very warm favourites to add that trophy to their cabinet.

After it was announced that the final would be played in Victoria, Carlton opened at $1.40, but as the week has progressed they have firmed into $1.35. Chris Judd has been named on the interchange, so both sides will be just short of full strength. Brisbane do have admirers at around the $3.20 mark, they know how to travel and have been impressive throughout this series. It is interesting that while there is money for them to win the game, the line of 20.5 points has been more popular for favourite backers with the bulk of the money bet there being for Carlton conceding the start.Most of the normal bet types will be available on the final, but be aware that a couple of them will be decided at the end of normal time in the event of a draw, while other options that stipulate ínc extra time' will be resulted on the final score.

Hawthorn have rested several players during their pre-season campaign, and their results have failed to impress punters. The Hawks were the $4.00 favs to win the day premiership throughout the summer months, but are out to $4.75 and completely unwanted now. The West Coast ($6.50), Collingwood ($7.00) and Carlton ($11) are the sides where the bigger money is going down, and that will probably continue if the Blues win the NAB Cup. In the last 3 weeks, TattsBet has seen more money come for Brisbane ($51) and Port Adelaide ($126) than Hawthorn, and there has also been a push for Geelong ($2.70-$2.52) to beat the Hawks in round 1.Of the main contenders, the only other side to have attracted less support for flag than Hawthorn has been Essendon ($15), and there are obvious reasons for that right now.

Lance Franklin remains at $3.50 to win the Coleman Medal but we continue to see money for both Jack Reiwoldt and Taylor Walker, now $5.50 behind the Hawk's champ. Riewoldt has continuously firmed over the last 8 weeks, but Walker has been backed to win close to $30,000 with TattsBet this week after a terrific 5 goal haul against Carlton, with 2 of those being super goals. 

CRICKET

Footy season is well under way, and that normally ends any betting interest in cricket matches, but the events of the last few days in India has seen the hold on the third test between India and Australia leap past the first 2 tests. The $6.75 available on the morning of the first day for an Australian win is the longest price for any Aussie team since betting was legalized in this country. While there has been some interest, albeit small, in them at the long odds, most Australians have been ploughing into India who go in slightly odds on at $1.95. The draw has been kept ‘safe’ at $2.40 with the weather predictions indicating that showers might be a problem during the first couple of days. 

RUGBY UNION 

The Chiefs went down 34-32 to the Stormers last week, but they have firmed from $5.50 into $5.00 to win the title this week after a bet of $3000. The Crusaders are winless after playing twice but remain second elects at $6.00, narrowly ahead of the Brumbies at $6.50, while the Bulls, yet to taste defeat in 3 games, are still a lengthy $12. The Bulls were impressive in beating the Blues last week when 7 point underdogs, and they will go around at a similar quote against the Crusaders on Saturday night. Looking at the form of the 2 sides it is hard to justify how the Crusaders can be $1.25 or -8.5, but punters have been happy to take both so clearly think they will rack up win number one. They do have an imposing home record in NZ against the Bulls, 9 starts for 9 wins, but the Bulls have won 4 of the last 6 meetings in South Africa.

The Cheetahs potentially provided the biggest upset of the season when thrashing the Highlanders 36-19 last week, and on that performance alone must be rated some hope of beating the Waratahs this week. The market disagrees however as the Waratahs are warm $1.28 favourites and concede 8.5 points in handicap betting. Berrick Barnes looks likely to return for the Waratahs, but they have lost their last 2 matches against the Cheetahs including a 23-3 loss in Sydney in 2011. The Waratahs may well win, but it they do not seem value at the price being taken.

The unbeaten Brumbies have only 1 win to their names in 7 starts against the Sharks in South Africa, and while they will have to try and improve on that stat without David Pocock this week, there has been money for them to do just that at $2.55. The Sharks are also unbeaten, but have failed to score a try in their last 2 wins, one of those against the Kings. This is another game where the outsider appears to have a terrific chance of victory. 

GOLF

Tiger Woods was back in favour with punters after winning the Cadillac Championship last week, and that victory has seen Tiger firm up into $5.50 to win the upcoming US Masters. Rory McIlroy also showed some improvement late in that tournament and is the second favourite at $10 to win the Masters, while Aussie Adam Scott impressed again with a closing 64, and has been backed this week at $23. Scott has had 3 starts this season with the only blemish being in the Accenture, and he was the opening $15 favourite with TattsBet in this week’s Tampa Bay Championship. That price was taken early on in betting as was the $17 for Sergio Garcia, and that duo are now equal at $14. Luke Donald has been well supported at $17, and as well as being the defending champion, he is also classified as a ‘local’. Other recent winners who fit the same category are Jim Furyk (2010) and Retief Goosen (2009), and they have also been backed at $29 and $81 respectively. Furyk was one of three who tied for second last year, while Goosen was also victorious in 2003. Australia is well represent in the Tampa Bay with no less than 14 runners in the field, with Scott the shortest way at $2.75. While he has been really well backed to win the tournament, Jason Day ($6.00), Greg Chalmers ($14) and Matty Jones ($17) have been best supported to be the Top Aussie.

The European Tour event will be in India this week where the Avantha Masters will be held. This will be the first time that the tournament will be held at the Greg Norman designed Jaypee Greens GC in Delhi , and the market is wide open at $21 the field. Thongchai Jaidee was the opening favourite at that quote, but there has been a strong push for Ricardo Santos ($31-$23) as well as Joost Luiten ($34) and Thomas Aiken ($41) in early trading. 

FORMULA 1 

Jenson Button has won three of the last four Australian F1 races, but oddly he has been the least popular with TattsBet in the season opener to be held on Sunday. The only blemish on Button’s record was a win to Sebastian Vettel in 2011, but it is Vettel who will go into the practise sessions as the favourite at $3.70. Button is $5.00, but there has been more money for Fernando Alonso ($5.50), Lewis Hamilton ($7.50) and Mark Webber at $9.00 than the McLaren driver. For the first time there is genuine money for several drivers outside of the bigger names with Nico Rosberg ($29-$15), Sergio Perez ($26-$17) and Romain Grosjean ($26-$21) all meeting with solid support. Rosberg was impressive posting fast times in testing 3 weeks ago, and while Melbourne has been going through an unprecedented run of hot weather, there is a strong chance of rain at the weekend. That will make things interesting as the Albert Park course in Melbourne is one of the tightest on the schedule, and it is near on impossible to come from too far back in the field when it is dry, and even more so if it is raining. As it is the first race of the season, and on a tight track, the practise and qualifying times will be crucial for betting, so expect some drastic price changes before they line up on the grid on Sunday. There will be live betting throughout the running of the race. 

V8 SUPERCARS 

Four V8 Supercar races will be held in Melbourne this week as part of the Formula 1 festival, and while there will not be any championship points up for grabs in any of the races, they will still be competitive races. Just like their F1 counterparts, it will be important to qualify near the front of the grid, and that would be the main reason why the early betting on race 1 has been focussed on those who were the fastest in Adelaide. The winners of the 2 Clipsal races were Craig Lowndes and Shane Van Gisbergen, with Van Gisbergen starting from pole in both races, and Lowndes has been backed from $3.75 to join Jamie Whincup at $3.50 to win race 1 on Friday. Van Gisbergen is solid in betting at $6.50, just ahead of Mark Winterbottom at $7.50, while there has been money for Fabian Coulthard at $21. Two races will be held on Friday, another on Saturday with the final race on Sunday prior to the F1 race getting under way. 

NASCAR

Matt Kenseth was well in the betting at $11 to win in Las Vegas last week, and Kenseth was able to deliver when he defeated Kasey Kahne and Brad Keselowski, who qualified fastest.

The action movers to Bristol, Tennessee, this week with the running of the Food City 500. Keselowski returns after winning this race last year, and is well in commission at $8, with Jimmie Johnson the favourite at $7.00. We expect Kenseth to be quite popular again as he finished second to Keselowski last year, and he is a dual winner on this course as well. Denny Hamlin ($8) won the other race held in Bristol later in the season, but a look back through the records of races held at the track reveals interesting reading. Brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch have won 10 races between them (5 each) in Bristol since 2002. Kurt has failed to recapture that form over the last couple of seasons and is $81 this week, but Kyle won in 2010 and 2011 and is another of the main chances at $8.